JulieChats Blog 
Oregon’s Scrapbook Expert
“How do you make time for creative projects?” Life certainly gets in the way of all the fun things we wish we were doing. Laundry, dishes, work, kids, email, yard work, bills, so many things take up the hours of our days. Like so many others, I wish there were a few more hours in each day for doing all the things I enjoy. I am a stay at home mom, who also works part time for my local scrapbook store, Whimzee’s Scrapbook Studio. I do my work for the store both at home and in the store. Since my job requires me to be creative at the drop of a hat, I often get questions about how I make time to be creative.
Whether you scrapbook, sew or paint, making time for your creative endeavors is always a concern. You might be concerned that by taking time to work on your projects, you are neglecting your family, friends or other responsibilities. I have spent the last few years squeezing my work and creative projects in between all my stay at home mom duties. I find that it’s more important than ever to find creative ways to fit my creative projects into my schedule every day. Being creative, whether it’s working on a sample using new papers for the store or helping my daughter design crafts for her birthday party, relaxes me. I find that my entire mind is engaged when I’m working on a project. I can’t think about any of my worries or concerns while I’m painting chipboard or helping Delaney with the sparkly Modge Podge. It’s also great to have that you have something tangible to enjoy after a crafting session.
Well, OK, you know how it feels to create something and how important it is to take a break from the daily grind. But those things don’t answer the question of “where” the time comes from. Even though I have a craft studio space in my bonus room, I don’t work in there as often as I should. Being upstairs so far from my family makes me feel alone and besides, how can I be doing dishes and stirring dinner when I’m miles away. So I prefer to work on my projects right in the middle of everything and everyone. Thanks to my wonderful husband for not freaking out at the piles of paper and embellishments on the kitchen counter!
For those of you who really want to squeeze in a creative project here and there, I have a few suggestions for you.
* Squeeze a small craft area or table into an area where your family hangs out. I often use the peninsula of my kitchen counter for crafting. Of course I also have both leaves in my dining room table and it’s usually covered with crafting supplies too. Having what you need for the project you’re working on close at hand allows you to paint the chipboard, put dishes in the dishwasher, trim your papers, brown the hamburger, step outside with the spray adhesive and lay the papers on your chipboard, add the taco seasoning, stick on a few embellishments, chop the veggies, trim your photos, grate the cheese, stick down your photos and toss your tortillas in the oven to warm. And VOILA!, you’ve got a cool new chipboard album and tacos for dinner! Yes, I may have speeded up the time it takes paint to dry for this demonstration, but you get the idea!
* Now that you’ve got your project supplies on the counter, and you’re excited to do a few more projects, you may be looking for some more minutes in your day for all this fun. These are some of the ways I manage to create a few new projects each week. I use the time while my son naps, after throwing in a load of laundry. I also work on my projects while my husband and I watch all those shows we DVR during the week. Being more a night person than a morning person, I will stay up very late, after everyone is in bed, to get a project done when I have a deadline. Sure, I’m tired the next day, but really…when is a mom NOT tired? And even though I might be tired, creating things gives me so much extra energy and inspiration that I don’t even notice.
*If crafting at home really won’t work for you, join a group or get together with friends at a local shop to work on your projects. Many small crafting businesses in your area have space, time and courteous employees eager to help you with your projects. It’s so important, especially with the state of our economy, to remember the small local businesses near you. Check out your local ceramic, knitting, quilting and papercrafting shops. Then take a night a week away to get recharged and soak up the inspiration of other creative people who enjoy your favorite hobby.
I hope that these suggestions help you realize that you do have a few minutes in your days and weeks that can be used to recharge your creative juices. I’d love to hear which projects you plan to work on now that you’re inspired to give crafting a try. And of course, if you have any suggestions for squeezing just a little more crafting into each day, I’d love to hear them!